A bill that is being considered would prohibit online platforms like Amazon from giving their own products or services advantages over rivals that rely on the same platforms to reach consumers. A similar bill would make it illegal for a platform company like Google to run multiple lines of business that create “conflicts of interest.”
Another bill would require platforms to be interoperable, so that users could migrate their data and change service more easily. And two more bills are aimed at mergers and acquisitions, giving more resources to antitrust authorities, banning technology giants like Facebook from engulfing nascent competitors, and in some cases making it more costly for companies to file merger proceedings.
Large technology companies have refused to engage in anti-competitive conduct. They argue that they compete fairly and offer products and services that have greatly benefited consumers.
Draft discussions currently circulating among policy makers do not reflect the final state of the legislation. But the sketched proposals show how House Democrats intend to tackle key Silicon Valley players, zeroing in on key aspects of their business models. If successful, legislation can lead to profound changes in the way Big Tech conducts its business.
In February, Rep. David Cicilline, who chairs the House’s antitrust group, promised that “change will come. Laws are coming.”
He pointed to the economic dominance of platforms like Facebook and said that under current laws, the tech industry has little incentive to move away from business models that encourage anti-competitive behavior that harms consumers and innovation.
“This problem is a cancer that metastasizes our entire economy and our country,” he said in February. audition. “It is spreading through our political body and taking over our ability to function as a democracy.”
Proponents of the tech industry say the bills would lead to dramatic changes for consumers. According to Adam Kovacevich, founder and CEO of the House of Progress, an advocacy group advocated by Amazon, Adam Kovacevich, founder and CEO of the House of Progress, could ban practices such as the ability to watch YouTube videos in search results from Google or free shipping to Amazon Prime for select products. Facebook, Google and others.
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